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Showing posts from 2011

Dr. William Davis: Wheat Indicted in Neurological Problems As Well AsObesity

I've been struggling of late to fit in time for everything I enjoy doing, and listening to my podcasts is among those things.  And due to the time involved in it, Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution Podcast  frequently gets put off.  Robb's a bit wordy sometimes. But as I've been getting caught up, one of the big pleasures was listening to episode 95 of the podcast, where Robb interviews Dr. William Davis.  Dr. Davis has just released a new book, entitled Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health .  With a title like that, you can bet what it's going to be about - Dr. Davis asserts that wheat, and particularly changes in the actual wheat plant during the population-crisis-scare of thirty years ago, are responsible for the obesity crisis in the US and increasingly around the world today. But what's truly interesting about the discussion is the number of other effects that wheat has on the population, including (probably not surpr

I'm Learning How To Walk

Walking properly is key to painless feet. It's amazing how a simple thing like walking painlessly can make you rethink what you've learned about your own body. Here's the situation. I'm a big obstacle race fan.   Warrior Dash , Ruckus , etc... love that stuff.  I like to push my whole body and have fun when I race and get exercise.  I'll never be a fan of marathons or distance cycling or triathlons or anything like that, but give me a three-four mile race with a bunch of stuff to climb over, wade through, swim on, etc. and I'm happy as a clam. And I also love my Vibram Fivefingers and VivoBarefoot shoes.  They're comfortable, I get that foot massage that comes from just walking on uneven terrain, and they let me feel a little more in control of where I am. But... the Vibrams and my love of obstacle races sort of came to a head recently.  I'd been having some achilles tendinitis in my heels but nothing that I was really worried about, ever since running

Discovery Health Spreading Misinformation on Paleo

There's an annoying trend going on in regards to the public image that the Paleo lifestyle is receiving recently, and the primary location of it today is the Discovery Health article " 10 Diets That Just Don't Work ." That's right, you guessed it:  numero uno was our beloved (and totally effective) Paleo Diet. This entire article appears to be the opinion of one Kip Hardy, a registered dietician at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta (the title of "registered dietician" should make the hackles stand up on most Paleo devotees right away, naturally). It's no secret that dieticians don't care for Paleo.  They listed Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Cookbook as one of the "most irresponsible" cookbooks of 2010, for example, and they frequently take uninformed potshots at Loren Cordain and Wolf and their ilk.  So I suppose it's not a surprise. Let's take this apart a bit.  One of the criteria statements made here is as follows: We realize

On Letting the Ripple Effect Take You Where You Need To Go

Always pay attention to what's going on around you, because you don't know where it's going to take you. A couple weeks ago, my sister and her little boy were in town, so they, my brother and his son, and my wife and two kids and I went to our local award-winning science museum, COSI .  Obviously, the goal was just to go and enjoy each other's company and let the kids all have some fun together. Well, mission accomplished.  COSI was its usual fun, interesting place.  The kids all had a ball. But that's not what this story is about.  Here's what it is about:  Steampunk. That's right, if you're a sci-fi fan you may have heard about this genre/subculture.  Steampunk is all about "history as it never was," and revolves around the sort of science fiction that Jules Verne and the like wrote about - sort of an industrial-revolution-timeframe look at what might have been had we developed steam-powered technology more than gas, diesel, electri

Learning from Special Needs kids

Frequently, we get caught in the trap of trying so hard to "fix" the problems with our kids that we ignore the lessons we could learn from them.  And this is particularly the case with special needs kids of all types. As you probably know if you're been reading this blog for a while, my son, Duncan, is autistic and we're working with him to help him beat some of the challenges he has.  But at the same time, it's very interesting to watch him do things and react to things in a way that's filled with instinct and id. For example, Duncan makes no bones about it when he's tired and wants to rest.  His body is telling him to do so and he's going to do it, by gum.  How many of us could take a lesson from this?  Instead of constantly driving hard and trying to achieve all the time, we need to listen to our bodies and take breaks when we need to. Another example that I really love (and especially given my reading I've done on places like Mark's Daily A

Americans and Social Media - WE LOVE IT!

Mashable did a really interesting post about Americans and their use of social media that I thought I'd share.  They looked at how people use it, where they use it, what they talk about, and the sheer numbers of people who are using it. It seems to reveal some very interesting things about America - more in a "you sort of knew it but never had anyone tell you straight out" way than in a "whoa, I didn't know that" way. Americans like to talk about television shows and let people know what they're watching.   Around half of Americans are on a social network of some kind.   Americans, on average, are playing social networking games for 15 minutes per day, or around two weeks per year.   Americans overwhelmingly like to use social media to make product recommendations.   Americans also like following favorite brands and companies online.   An average 9% of Americans' social media "friends" are college buddies and 22% are from hig

30-Day Caffeine and Cortisol Challenge - Result: Inconclusive

No Coffee For Me! Well, I don't know what I learned on this issue.  No, that's not true, I learned a lot about N=1 tests. One of the problems with N=1 testing of any kind is that it's hard to isolate all the variables one needs to have a conclusive outcome or result, and that's most certainly the case with my 30-Day Caffeine and Cortisol challenge. I was doing well with the removal of caffeine from my diet on all fronts until last week, when I did my first shift of a week of monitoring our nightly processes for my employer.  While this wasn't supposed to be a stressful situation, it was for a couple of reasons, one of which was a change in the amount of sleep I got. I normally get to bed around 10:00 and wake up around 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning, making my normal sleep time about 7 hours.  But as one of the processes I had to monitor finished at 10:20 PM, that meant staying up later than normal.  And not only that, it necessitated sitting in front of the computer a

Kresser and Wolf Discuss Healthy Fat for Mothers-To-Be

A Smart Baby! Though I'm a bit behind on my podcasts right now (after a marathon listening routine to catch up with Angelo Coppola's Latest in Paleo podcast), I listened to Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution podcast yesterday and came away from it with a couple of little meat gobbets of info that I found interesting from a Paleo mental healthtype standpoint. Robb had the Healthy Skeptic , Chris Kresser, on as a guest, talking about Kresser's new product called the Healthy Baby Code , which is an instructional series on the best ways to take care of yourself if you want to conceive (mostly for women, though some would most certainly be applicable to men), if you're currently pregnant, and how to take care of your baby once the happy day arrives. The two portions of the podcast that I found most interesting from a standpoint of mental development were at 22:30 and 42:42.  The first was where Chris and Robb were discussing proper macronutrient levels for a pregnant

Caffeine and Cortisol, Update #1

[caption id="attachment_190" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Fight the dark side!"] [/caption] As you know from my previous post about Caffeine and Cortisol , I started a 30-Day Coffee fast last Thursday.  And so far, so good. I've been coffee-free since then and I'm feeling pretty good. I was experiencing some minor withdrawal headaches on Thursday and Friday (slightly worse on Friday), but that was nothing to worry about - I didn't even take aspirin for it on Friday, just gutted it out. I had one slip-up when I had a small iced-tea on Sunday, I'm hoping that that was small enough that the effects were negligible.  I wasn't even thinking about it at that point, though, so the withdrawal problems that some were telling me about were limited to the small headaches. I'll take it. At the beginning of this experiment, I was jut a hair under a 34 waist on my pants.  And my sleep, while okay, wasn't super-great.  So t

Caffeine and Cortisol - a 30-Day Experiment

No Caffeine for Me! Today, I began upon a 30-day experiment to reduce my cortisol levels by removing coffee from my diet. The goal is to see how it might be affecting my cognitive function and my belly fat. Cortisol is a hormone that is related to stress .  At a very basic level, cortisol is created as a response to stressors in our environment.  Back when we were still chucking spears at deer and chasing down antelope, cortisol was helping to preserve our lives by giving us quick energy by signalling to our livers that it was time to engage in a process known as gluconeogenesis. This process is basically the breakdown of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, into glucose - one of the two monosaccharides (the healthy one) that our bodies use for fuel. Picture this - you're walking across the street, enjoying the day, when suddenly some inattentive driver tries to turn and doesn't see you.  Your heart rate speeds up, and you get a little burst of speed to quickly sprint o

Guest-post on LiveCaveman!

Just a short note for now - I did a guest post over at Tony Federico's LiveCaveman - Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction blog, and I hope you'll all go check it out. Tony does a great job of presenting fitness and nutrition in an accessible way and making it fun! He has great passion for the Paleo lifestyle and I hope everyone will check out more of his fine work, and take advantage of his coaching!

Autism and the Brain-Gut Health Connection

Ever since Rachel of PaleoFreedom announced her success with a Paleo diet in treating her daughter Scarlett's autism , it seems like stories about autism and Paleo are coming out of the woodwork.  But one of the most interesting and coincidental articles came to me from Lisa Jo Rudy, the Autism Guide at . Though Ms. Rudy does not mention the Paleo lifestyle or diet per se in her articles for this particular newsletter, it's interesting to note that the entire newsletter is dedicated to the connection between brain function and proper gut health.  Rudy points out a study from McMaster University where researchers looked at the effects of gut bacteria on the behavior of mice, noting that those with lower levels of probiotic bacteria had both behavior changes and reduced levels of a key behavioral-based marker in the brain (as noted in the Newswise article that Rudy used as a reference): Working with healthy adult mice, the researchers showed that disrupting the norma

Paleo Works for Autistic Child -

What a great story this is. is carrying a testimonial from Paleo devotee Rachel, whose daughter Scarlet experienced an amazing turnaround in her autism after her mother put her on a Paleo diet to help her overcome that issue.  Rachel also blogs at PaleoFreedom, and shared her story there as well with more detail that will be familiar to parents of autistic children. Scarlet was diagnosed fairly early, at 20 months, and was speaking at only an 8-month old level.  She had lots of stimming type behavior and displayed a number of sensory-triggered apprehensive traits as well. Her mother put her on a Gluten-Free/Casein-Free (GFCF) diet to begin with, and there was a fair amount of improvement there with her vocabulary improving to about five words.  But she was having problems with family members sneaking her cookies and the like, which was undoing or at least interfering with the progress she'd made. Finally, Rachel put Scarlet on a full Paleo diet - grain/dairy/legume f

"Latest in Paleo" isn't just about diet and exercise: it's about ATTITUDE

There are a lot of great Paleo and low-carb podcasts out there on the Aethernets, and a lot of us get a great deal of our information from them. Let's face it - the mainstream media isn't so great (though getting better) about covering the latest in real science at the level to which we've become accustomed with such great blog and podcast content as we have in our community. But because there's a lot of content to cover, it can't always be addressed as the mainstream media would like to cover it: sound bites and easy-to-swallow portions. Like the meat and veggies we all love so much, Paleo podcasts have to be chewed and swallowed to get all the relevant information across, and that takes some time. If you're strapped for time like I frequently am, and want to catch up on some of the great offerings that our community has to offer, then I'll recommend you listen to Latest in Paleo , by Angelo Coppola. But as you'll find out, that's hardly the only re

New Paleo magazine coming soon

Just a quick note this morning - came across a new magazine for Paleo people like ourselves, and it's properly named Paleo Magazine . Looks like a print version of some of the stuff we have online, but should also provide lots of ads for Paleo service providers (hopefully!). They're saying that the first issue will ship in the week of May 16th on their Facebook page. So there's still time to get in and get the first issue. The next step in Paleo world domination, I like it. They're also on Twitter . Looking forward to this in a BIG way!

Friday Round Up

Each Friday, we post the links of the week of particular interest to those of us with a mental focus.  Enjoy! Mark Sisson discussed how the ability to focus changes as we age, and how to develop those skills.  The Scattered Mind: Finding Focus in a World of Distractions

Autism Research Institute: Ketosis is a bad thing

One of the ways that parents of kids with Autism frequently look to help their children is by finding a DAN doctor.  DAN is an acronym that means "Defeat Autism Now," and the idea is that physician in question knows and utilizes therapies that can help alleviate some of the symptoms of Autism. I personally know of some people who have reported great gains for their kids after having been on a treatment program with a DAN doctor.  Some of these therapies are diet-related, some are medicinal, and there are probably others that I don't know about as I haven't learned as much about the programs yet as I'd like. But in my perusal of this subject this morning, and wondering if there are DAN doctors in the Columbus area, I came across this statement on the webpage for one of the referring groups for DAN doctors, the Autism Research Institute . Nutrition and supplementation are a very big part of addressing the needs of those on the spectrum. Dietary adjustment is one of

Paleo Challenge: Week One Complete

Monday marked the end of week one of my Paleo Challenge, which I started on April 26th.  And so far, so good.  Having a goal in mind of going for 30 days really does help with completing the challenge and avoiding the splurge foods that normally might derail me if I were to say "I just want it tonight." The one real fault I had over past week was when I ate a couple of Johnsonville sausages with dinner - there were probably some wheat or other carby fillers in those things.  But it didn't seem to have bothered me at all. I'm very pleased with how I feel.  Fatigue has been at a minimum and hunger has not been an issue at all.  Like I said in an earlier post: I've been in that nebulous "mostly paleo" mode for a while now so the big changes didn't happen.  But I have had some little headaches as I came down off the sugars I was allowing myself to take in. And the other positive is that I'm feeling fitter - the diet plus a few good sessions of Mark S

Beginning a Paleo Challenge!

So, you may be thinking: you run a Paleo-based blog yet you're taking the Paleo Challenge?  Haven't you been Paleo all along?  What's the deal, Jamie? Yes, I'm doing a Paleo Challenge.  For those of you who aren't aware of this, the Paleo Challenge is simply eating and living 100% Paleo for 30 days (and I started yesterday, technically).  John Durant's has a great overview of the process .  The idea is to get all the sugars and more importantly the desire for sugars out of your system and set up a basis for ascertaining what your body is accepting of from a dietary standpoint. As I say in my About page, I've been Paleo for about three years now.  But that hasn't been a 100% Paleo deal, and at times it's been pretty bad.  My main weakness is anything with chocolate in it - ice cream, candy, etc.  I've been MOSTLY Paleo, but as Robb Wolf says, that means you're not Paleo. I did a Paleo Challenge for three weeks or so when I

Watch out for Meat Glue!

Is it a steak? Or some sort of meat collage? That's right, you heard correctly here... there's actually a glue that is used to bind small pieces of meat together to form larger faux-cuts of steak and the like.  This video from an Australian news program tells a little bit more about it. Basically, meat glue is a substance made from Transglutaminase , an enzyme that clots blood in various animals.  It has a binding property that pulls blood particles ( or meat particles) together, creating a strong bond between the particles. The substance is being used commercially in the US (and Australia, as the video shows) to allow meat producers to bind smaller pieces of meat into larger "cuts."  However, it is illegal in the European Union. And why is that?  After all, the FDA uses a study done by the product's creator, Ajinomoto, to show that the product is safe for use.  And despite the fact that users of the product wear masks to avoid inhaling it

Columbus Paleo People: Join the Meetup!

Do you live in Columbus, Ohio?  Do you follow a Paleo/Primal lifestyle or are you interested in hearing more about it?  Would you like to get to know some more folks who are looking for great health? May 3, 2011, at Cup O'Joe in the Short North, the third Meetup for Paleo Living Columbus will take place.  Come on out and meet some more Paleo lifestyle folks and swap tips, recipes, websites, etc. and get some support as you strive to live healthy in an unhealthy world! More information, including info on the location, is available at the above link.

Facebook Petition: Get Robb Wolf on Oprah!

Wouldn't you love to see this man on Oprah? Here's an idea that I REALLY love: getting Robb Wolf , the author of the Paleo Solution and probably the most visible "celebrity" of the Paleo movement (and Robb, I apologize for calling you a celebrity) on what is probably the most popular and visible talk show in America: the Oprah Winfrey Show. You need to be on Facebook to do this, but just "like" this Facebook page and you've signed the petition . I have no idea how well this will work or if Oprah will pay any attention to it, but let's face it:  Paleo isn't going to fare well if it's just lumped in with the latest fad diets .  It needs a forum where the whole story can be told: how grains are the reason behind so much of the obesity and illness in the world today, the autoimmune issues, the truth behind our ancestral diet and the benefits of it, and the truth behind so many dietary myths that exist in our society.  An hour won't cover it,

Order now: pre-order for Primal Body, Primal Mind re-release

Nora Gedgaudas announced today on her blog that her fantastic book Primal Body, Primal Mind is being re-released with a new publisher and slightly new title. Get ready for Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life . Nora tells us that the book will mostly be the same great material from the first edition, but... Keep in mind that this is essentially the same book you have all come to know and love, but with some wonderful new and updated information, better referencing, vastly superior editing, a new foreword by Dr. Mark Steinberg plus an additional new wonderful foreword written by Brent Pottenger (descendant of Dr. Francis Pottenger and head of the newly established Ancestral Health Society), a new cover and new photo of me, together with some notable endorsements.  I’ve had an opportunity over the last number of months to review many of your comments about my book and make some positive changes to the material and make the manner in which

The Media is Getting it All Wrong

Are reporters like this missing the point? Over the past couple of days, I've been replaying some of the videos I've seen recently where members of the media have been reviewing the various Ancestral Diets and lifestyles, and by and large they're missing the point entirely. Let's start with the Nightline piece on Paleo with Art De Vany and Robb Wolf. Sure, they talked about the weight loss, and the exercise factor, and the fact that Art looks great at 73 and is still lifting weights and lugging his Land Rover around.  But they then turned around and basically "okayed" it with a couple of conventional wisdom-based nutritionists, who gave it their blessing as long as proponents kept the fat low, etc.  Of course, the advice of such people is exactly what we're trying to avoid. And there was no mention of the main tenet of Ancestral Diets: GRAINS ARE BAD FOR YOU. We've heard no mention whatsoever of that scientifically proven fact, and that's really t

Low-carb/Gluten-free helps with ADHD in study

The ADHD Research Centre in Eindhoven, the Netherlands has some interesting things to say about the treatment of children with ADHD: Diet can do it. Medscape, a website affiliated with WebMD , reports on a study by the Centre where groups of children with ADHD symptoms and behaviors were tested on their reaction to an elimination diet. The study included 100 children with ADHD, all of whom were checked for allergic reactions to foods before the study began.  Half were placed into a control group, half into a test group where their diet was limited to "mainly rice, meat vegetables, pears, and water, complemented with potatoes, fruits, and wheat."  And all the children were monitored by their parents for behavior changes. Now here's the interesting part:  after 2 weeks, 41 of the children in the test group were showing no changes, so the diet was limited even more to rice, meat, vegetables, pears, and water.  Notice what was left out:  gluten and fructose via the wheat and

Art De Vany, Robb Wolf present Paleo lifestyle on ABC's Nightline

If you could get past all the useless entertainment news rigamarole last night, you might have caught a segment on ABC's Nightline where Paleo gurus Art De Vany and Robb Wolf were able to present the Paleo lifestyle to a mainstream audience.  They did a great job, and even though the presenter was a bit mesmerized by the whole thing, I thought it was fair and presented things really well. I don't have the link to the original Nightline broadcast, but here's a YouTube video of the segment.  Thanks Art and Robb for all you do!

Paleo Exercise: good for the brain

The myth of the dumb jock is a pervasive one, to be sure.  I often think that this is one of those things that less athletic (or motivated) people tell themselves and others to boost their self-esteem, but it's proven again and again not to be true. When I was in college, I found that some of the smartest guys and gals were the varsity athletes.  It seemed that at least a couple times a season, the play-by-play guys broadcasting our football games pointed out the GPA of the offensive linemen on our team and how high it was - and not in easy majors, either.  No, we're talking engineering, the sciences, etc.  Hard stuff.  Some people like to play that off to lessons learned from having to manage their time better, and that certainly will play a role, but perhaps there's an additional reason. Along comes The Primal Blueprint author Mark Sisson , pulling together a group of studies on both rats and humans that indicate the importance and effectiveness of strength training.   No

Robb Wolf tells me where I erred on my cheat day

Amazing. As if he read my blog (which I know he hadn't, because his podcast came out Tuesday and yesterday (when I wrote my binge post ) was Wednesday, Robb Wolf answered part of my question about cheat days and bingeing in his latest podcast (#67) .  Starting at the 50:37 point in the podcast, Robb answers "Bennett's" question about cheat days. Robb's answer was interesting and I think I see part of where I may have gone wrong.  While Rob does not care for planned cheat days unless you are hyper-focused, a la a Tim Ferriss type , because they tend to send your Primal/Paleo efforts soaring into the ether, he's not against treating yourself once in a while if you see a dessert or sugary food that you really want.  The key for Robb is to make sure you stay away from the Gluten.  The possible gut irritants in wheat's death-protein, especially if you're being good and haven't been taking any in at all, will do more harm than you may think by setting of

Weekend binge made me pay on Monday!

Last Sunday afternoon, my wife and I went out to see a movie ( The Eagle , with Channing Tatum. It was pretty good).  I've been eating cleanly with good regularity for a few weeks again, and I decided it wouldn't hurt anything to go on a bit of a bender with some of the refreshments there. Boy, was I wrong. The bender included an order of soft pretzel bites with "cheese sauce," a bag of M&Ms, and a large Coke.  Normally, before I was Paleo, I could go through such a repast without blinking an eye.  But as I mentioned on the  About  page, I've been Paleo for a couple of years now.  And as I said, I've been keeping the carbs down with a lot more intensity of late. So during the movie, I started feeling pretty lousy.  Bloated, gassy, the whole nine yards.  And the rest of the evening, I didn't eat too much and pretty much took it easy.  I didn't sleep well, probably because of all the carbs running rampant in my system and keeping me too energized to

iPhone app helps consumers avoid "Frankenfoods"

It's no secret that Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are running rampant in the American diet.  And these organisms, which are primarily found in corn, soy, canola, and cotton (and yes, we do have some cotton in the diet via cottonseed oil).   Sugar beets are a growing source of GMO carbs as well. And the questions about the safety of GMOs in the diet are growing at a rampant rate . But the United States doesn't require labeling of GMO-containing foods due to the success of the GMO lobby in federal and state legislatures.  So how is the consumer to know what foods do and don't contain these substances? The Center for Food Safety is here to help with a free iPhone application (or, if you don't have an iPhone, they have a PDF document with all the information as well).  The application is well set up - with news, political actions to take, and a great source of which foods are safe and which bear the most scrutiny. The application can be downloaded at the iTunes

On Adding Value to the World

I got this in a chain email today... but I REALLY like it.  I wanted to share it with you because I think it says a lot. Let's remember that adding value to the world doesn't mean you have to make some sort of global impact: you can add value on a local or even personal level, and you've created value! Charles Schulz Philosophy (This is marvelous!! There are two sets of question Scroll slowly and read carefully to receive and enjoy full effect.) The  following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the  creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point. Name the five wealthiest people in the  world. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and